Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: Unbreakable

The Legion Series #1
Kami Garcia
Paranormal Young Adult
320 pages
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Available October 1st
Source: BEA

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

Unbreakable is a fast-paced, deliciously creepy tale, one that practically dares us with its haunting cover and synopsis to sit by ourselves and read it into the dark hours of the night, and when we accept said dare and crack the spine, we find Ms. Garcia has a gift for sending shivers across our skin. We hit the ground running in this story, swiftly and brutally exposed to death and demons along with Kennedy as a rag tag team of extraordinarily brave fighters lifts the veil from her eyes to reveal a terrifying world ruled by vengeance. Once we're in this story it never lets us go, catapulting us from one place to the next as Ms. Garcia tests our hearts to see how fast and how loud they can pound before they suffer irreparable damage.

Kennedy is someone who could be described as frustrating realistic (this is more of a compliment than it sounds), thrust into a life-threatening situation so far beyond the scope of her understanding as to be completely incomprehensible, and struggling to hold onto anything familiar about herself before she loses the person she thought she was to the girl the members of the Legion tell her she is now. The frustrating aspect of Kennedy comes into play when we try and place ourselves in her shoes (something very easy to do), the fervent hope that we would be strong in the face of the terrors of this new world causing the disappointment when Kennedy flinches or falters to be all the more acute; our sense of failure stemming not so much from her but more so from ourselves because we know it's likely we would react just as she does, no matter how much we wish a different truth in its place. Thus Kennedy's fears and flaws both beautifully but painfully reflect our own, making her feel so very real against the most unreal of backdrops.

The romance between Kennedy and Jared, while an enjoyable distraction from the various ghosts and the mysteries they're protecting, isn't quite as strong as it could have been, things between them staying primarily on the surface rather than giving us the opportunity to poke at their sore spots in order to find out why they're there. A love triangle between the two of them and Jared's brother Lukas does threaten to form, but luckily Kennedy is pretty clear on which brother she prefers from the beginning, and though Lukas doesn't necessarily give up the fight even when he senses the direction of her affections, the angst between the three of them is relatively low. Jared plays a bit of the push-pull game however, his reasons for doing so not explored to the degree that would help us understand and emotionally connect to his motivations, but given the romance is secondary to the search to find and destroy a demon, it doesn't detract too much from our overall enjoyment.

In addition to the romance, there are a couple other elements that could have benefited from a more thorough exploration so as to really allow us to sink our hands into the grit and grime of the characters' lives, though Ms. Garcia does an admirable job of giving us just enough backstory to help us get our bearings without exhausting us with histories and explanations. Those looking for a quick, creepy read will devour Unbreakable, skin covered in goosebumps and eyes darting to dark corners repeatedly to check for signs of movement as we sit back and allow Ms. Garcia to entertain us. The ending manages to be both nicely wrapped up yet also open, the team's purpose in this first installment more or less achieved but it's clear that what happens is only the beginning, and I have no doubt the intensity (and maybe the romance) will be ratcheted up another level or two in the already much-anticipated sequel.

Rating: 4/5

Find Kami:

This book was given to me at BEA by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fierce Reads Event Recap + Giveaway

On Friday afternoon I had the distinct pleasure of attending Macmillan's Fierce Reads tour as it stopped at Books & Co in Dayton, Ohio. Young adult authors S.A. Bodeen (The Compound/The Fallout/The Raft), Alexandra Coutts (Tumble & Fall), Marissa Meyer (Cinder/Scarlet), and Leila Sales (This Song Will Save Your Life) were all in attendance to talk about their books and answer questions, but thanks to the lovely people at Macmillan I was able to meet with all four fabulous ladies for a quick Q+A before the event started.

If any of you have read past recaps for various author events I've been lucky enough to attend, you know that I get absurdly nervous when faced with authors and have a tendency to either freeze up and say absolutely nothing, or ramble on and on about anything and everything that pops in my head just to fill the silence. I was of course a little anxious about meeting these women even as I was enormously honored to be asked to be a part of the event, and that anxiousness only increased when it became apparent that, due to a tight schedule (they were only in Ohio for a matter of hours before flying out to Austin, TX), I would be interrupting them as they ate lunch to bombard them with my questions. Super. Thankfully they were all very good sports about me and my wonderful mother-in-law (and partner in blogging crime) Cathy joining them, and were enthusiastic about answering whatever I threw at them.

I tried to come up with questions that were a bit more on the fun side rather than serious questions about their books and writing processes, so I hope you all enjoy! (Please note that if the answers seem overly succinct, it's because I couldn't write fast enough to catch everything, not because they gave short or clipped answers!)


If a portal were to open right here and whisk you off to assume the life of any one character in fiction, who would you most want to be?

Leila Sales: Sarah Crewe (from A Little Princess) at the end of the book once she's free of Miss Minchin.

S.A. Bodeen: Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia

Marissa Meyer: Elizabeth Bennett

Alexandra Coutts: Same as Marissa. Elizabeth Bennett

You can change the ending of any one book, movie or television show. Which do you choose and what new ending do you give it?

Leila: Season three of "The OC". Marissa wouldn't die.

S.A.: Titanic. Jack wouldn't die, Rose would make room for him.

Marissa: Les Miserables. Jean Valjean wouldn't die.

Alex: The ending of "Lost".

What's the last word you wrote (current work in progress, side project, outline, or anything fiction-related)?

S.A.: Nacho.

Marissa: Unconscious.

Alex: Briscoe.

If you were all able to interview each others' characters, whom would you each choose and what's one question you would ask them?

Leila: Some of Marissa's characters, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't answer my questions! Or Nick from Tumble & Fall (Alex chimed in here to say Nick was based on a friend of hers). Or Sophie from Tumble & Fall, and I would ask "How old are you?"

S.A.: The dad from This Song Will Save Your Life.

Marissa: Same! Or Vicky (from This Song Will Save Your Life).

What's the longest you've had to wait for a book you've been dying to read?

Leila: A decade. There was a decade between two books by Connie Willis.

S.A.: However long the wait was for the 7th Harry Potter.

Marissa: How long was the wait for Bitterblue?

Alex: A decade (she mentioned the titles of the books, but I couldn't write them down quickly enough. Fail.)

Which book has your favorite beginning or end (either that you've read or written)?

Leila: The ending of The Sun Also Rises.

S.A.: The beginning of The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron.

Alex: The beginning of Just As Long As We're Together by Judy Blume - "Stephanie is into hunks".

We all have book boyfriends (some of us have more than others O.o). Who tops your lists?

Leila: Michael from The Princess Diaries.

S.A.: Captain Thorne from Scarlet.

Marissa: Besides Mr. Darcy? Brigan from Fire by Kristin Cashore.

Alex: Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars (we both at this point acknowledged that in our heads, our YA book boyfriends are all more age-appropriate. Obviously ;-)). Wait. No. I'm switching to Gale from The Hunger Games.

*Leila said that not too long ago she was playing a Family Feud type game where they had asked 100 people which fictional character they'd most like to take out on a date, and after we all attempted to guess the number one spot she told us it was Hermione Granger. YAY FOR BOOKISH GIRLS!

After a stressful or particularly difficult day of writing, what's your go-to comfort food?

Leila: I eat chocolate chips while writing. I know it's time to stop when I've eaten way too many.

S.A: A hot drink and a Fiber One lemon bar.

Marissa: Any dark chocolate and a glass of wine.

Alex: Mac and cheese.

If you had $20 and 5 minutes in a bookstore to make a purchase, which section (other than YA) would you run to first?

S.A.: The adult recently released paperbacks section! (Leila agreed with her)

Marissa: Either the recently released paperbacks section or self help books.

Alex: Cookbooks.

• • • • • • • • • •

After all the questions were answered and everyone had finished their lunches, we headed across the street to the bookstore for a quick photo op before heading upstairs to the event itself.

Left to right: Mary Van Akin (publicist), Leila Sales, S.A. Bodeen, Molly Brouillette (publicist), Marissa Meyer, and Alexandra Coutts

There was a really great guest moderator from a local high school who asked a series of questions before opening things up to the audience, so below are some of the highlights of what was discussed; a combination of my notes and Cathy's since she was nice enough to jot things down as I popped up now and again to take pictures.

• There were originally going to be 5 books in The Lunar Chronicles series, with the last being "Puss in Boots", but it ended up being cut very early on and Marissa decided the series would end with Snow White in Winter.

• S.A. Bodeen originally never planned on writing a sequel to The Compound, but she was continuously asked what happened to Eli, so she started wondering that herself and came up with a twist which led to book two, The Fallout. It took 5 years for the sequel to happen though.

• Leila Sales has a background in psychology, her major in college, and has always been fascinated by the more social element to to it – how people interact with one another rather than the science of the brain. One of the studies referenced in This Song Will Save Your Life about people liking someone more if that person smiles at them, is a real study.

• Marissa was asked what attracted her to classic fairy tales and what her thoughts were on the damsels-in-distress-needing-princes-to-rescue-them aspect. She said she loved fairy tales in general, but wanted to present stronger, more diverse female characters who have dreams and ambitions far beyond meeting a handsome prince.

• All four authors were asked how they write full character arcs. S.A. said her characters always start out really flat, and it then takes draft upon draft for her to build their flesh. Alex said she always thinks she knows the full character at the start of their story, but the journey usually changes as she writes. Marissa said she focuses on a character's strengths or weaknesses and then builds up from there, asking herself what her characters are afraid of. Leila said her characters always start out flawed, and then hopefully over the course of the story they find a resolution for some of their problems and end up better than they started.

Audience question: What is your favorite book of all time?

Leila: The Little Prince. Said it's such a simple story, but one with so much depth.

Marissa: Pride and Prejudice. It's the only books she's read multiple times, she's not a re-reader at all.

S.A.: A Prayer for Owen Meany and Shadow of the Wind.

Alex: The Sound and The Fury. When she was a senior in high school she had to write a paper on it, and has re-read it 3-4 times.

• Audience question: Which character in your book was the easiest to write or do you most relate to?

Leila: Said there's a piece of her in all her characters, even the secondary ones, but she related to Elise most when she was writing This Song Will Save Your Life.

Alex: Surprisingly, she said male characters are often easier for her to understand and therefore write, stating growing up with 2 younger brothers was helpful in that regard. Her female characters all start out similar to her, and she finds it much easier to separate herself from a male character, so Kayden in the book probably came easiest for her.

Marissa: She most related to Cress. Cress has been stuck in a satellite for 7 years at the beginning of the book, so she often escapes into her own imagination and has a profound fantasy life, which Marissa said of course could be said of her as well.

S.A: Eli was easiest for her. She said she enjoyed getting to delve deeper into who he is in The Fallout.

After the Q+A all the authors signed books and handed out fun swag goodies. It was a truly fantastic event and drew the biggest crowd I've seen yet at this bookstore which was really fun and exciting, and I want to say a huge thank you to all four authors (and the awesome Mary and Molly!) for letting me be a part of the event, I had an absolute blast. The second leg of the Fierce Reads tour is coming back to Ohio November 5th, this time passing through Cincinnati, so if any of you are in the area, I hope to see you there!

A few more pictures from the event:

Left to right: S.A., Alex, Marissa, and Leila; Alex answering questions

S.A. signing books; Marissa and Leila listening attentively :)

 Marissa signing books; her tin full of Lunar Chronicles-related goodies

S.A., Alex, Me, Marissa, Leila

• • • • • • • • • • 


Thanks to the amazingly generous team at Macmillan, I have a truly awesome giveaway for you all today. Up for grabs are signed copies of The Compound, The Fallout, Cinder, Scarlet, Tumble & Fall, and This Song Will Save Your Life. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays #1
Cristin Terrill
Young Adult/Time Travel
368 pages
Disney Hyperion
Available now
Source: BEA

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
"You have to kill him." 

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

A heart-pounding, gut-twisting story, All Our Yesterdays challenges everything we think we know about ourselves; asking us to answer uncomfortable questions as we slide into the shoes of Marina and Em, and causing us to flinch when we find our responses are not as easy to come by as we might have thought before reading. We are more woefully torn as the story continues, Em and Finn’s purpose in traveling back in time four years seeming so simple – the path they must take clear and absolutely necessary given what we know of their current predicament – but with each chapter those previously clear waters muddy, and time plays a cruel game in softening hearts that had been brutally hardened by pain and betrayal.

Time travel stories can sometimes be infinitely trying, the complications of changing various people’s timelines and the resulting effects those changes have on the future causing headaches the more we try to sort everything out, but Ms. Terrill introduces a fascinating element to her time-space continuum: sentience. Time in this world is an almost living, breathing thing, able to remedy certain actions and untangle threads as Em and Finn fight a battle to change their bleak futures again and again, adding a sense of fluidity when our minds might otherwise demand more rigid parameters. As a result, when we come across small things that would normally cause us to question or wonder at the how or why of the situation, we have our answer already, knowing that time has sorted itself out without Ms. Terrill needing to launch into a lengthy and likely confusing explanation.

Without going into specifics on the characters as to do so would be to spoil the beautifully simple yet painfully complex relationship between Em, Marina, Finn and James, suffice to say that even though we spend our time in this world through the first person perspectives of Em and Marina, all four characters are wonderfully vibrant and alive, their personalities engaging and sometimes haunting, and the changes we see in them from beginning to end are facets of this story that linger for days after reading. Ms. Terrill expertly brings all four of them full circle by the time we reach the last page, our hearts sporting many a bruise and shallow cut but still beating strongly as the last thread is tied off – one all the way from the beginning that raised a red flag but was promptly forgotten as the story’s intensity picked up – leaving us with a blissful warmth even as we grieve over some of the events that led us to our current happy glow.

Overall, All Our Yesterdays is a thrilling read from page one, taking us on a harrowing dance through time to leave us winded, a little battered, but replete with hope for the future even after all that’s happened, and I simply can’t wait to see what Ms. Terrill’s imagination will delight us with next.

Rating: 4.5/5
Find Cristin:

This book was given to me at BEA by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Guest Post: Mari Mancusi + Scorched

Today I'm excited to hand the blog over to twin brothers Connor and Caleb from Mari Mancusi's paranormal young adult release, Scorched, to give us a little introduction to their world. Each young man has a very, VERY different opinion on dragons and what should be done with the egg that comes into Trinity's possession, so I asked them to give us a brief crash course on these previously-mythical beasts so we can better understand the reasons for their beliefs. I so thoroughly enjoyed this book (you can read my full review here), and I hope everyone gives it a try after reading the two arguments below so you can all discover which side you're on!


This isn’t rocket science, people. Dragons are evil, plain and simple. They decimated the surface of our planet. No more trees, no more flowers, no more playgrounds or sports stadiums. The dragons destroyed it all. They forced mankind underground, the only place of safety and now we live like moles in the dirt, always in fear of the next attack. There’s never enough to eat and many have been afflicted with bone cancer, due to a severe vitamin D deficiency from living a sunless existence underground. In short, we’re practically an endangered species. And dragons are to blame for everything.

I was just a child when my father was murdered by a dragon. A big, ugly beast with razor sharp teeth and black beady eyes. My father was only trying to protect me—when the dragon scorched him with its flames, striking him down where he stood. To this day, I can still hear his agonized screams and smell the stench of burning flesh.

Now I have a chance to stop the dragons. Go back in time, destroy this one last dragon egg—and wipe these vile beasts off the face of the earth forever. Destroy the dragons, save the world. How can anyone argue with that?


No one’s arguing that dragons haven’t done a lot of bad over the past years. But who can blame them? Mankind tortured them, abused them, sought to use them as biological weapons of mass-destruction. No wonder the dragons had a bone to pick with them. Not to mention these dragons that caused the destruction in question were actually hybrids—their DNA mixed with that of other more nasty lizards—and they were pumped full of steroids from the day they were born. No wonder they went rogue.

Dragons are animals, just like any other. Abuse a dog and he’ll bite. Give it love and affection and food and it’ll be yours forever. Same deal with dragons. Raise them right and they’ll become man’s new best friend.

Dragons have a lot of gifts to offer mankind. Their blood has crazy healing properties and they can sniff out natural resources buried deep underground. With dragons we don’t have to worry about a shortage of oil or water anymore. We can harness their powers to save the world.

Wipe out dragons and you wipe out mankind’s future. The egg must be saved.

• • • • • • • • • • 

(available now from Sourcebooks Fire)

Don’t leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn’t be a big surprise—her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head—a dragon that won’t be tamed.

Find Mari:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Unbreakable: Kennedy's Playlist + A Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of giving you a little insider information on Kami Garcia's newest paranormal young adult release, Unbreakable, in the form of main character Kennedy's playlist. Those of you who read this blog consistently know that I am a wimp of epic proportions and curl into a fetal ball at even the mildest of scary stories, so I went into Unbreakable fully prepared to run from it screaming like a little girl. Luckily for me though, I found this story to be extraordinarily creepy and extremely tense, but not filled with the horror and gore that would have scarred me for life. I did make a point to read it when it was bright and sunny out though (and I may or may not have also been sitting in the middle of a circle of salt), so that may have helped a little ;-)

I'll be posting my full review next week, but for now I'm going to leave you with a peek at Kennedy's playlist and a fabulous giveaway!

• • • • • • • • • • 


Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times & international bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures Series and the author of UNBREAKABLE, the first book in the Legion Series, releasing on October 1, 2013. Kami is fascinated by the paranormal, and she’s very superstitious. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found watching disaster movies, listening to Soundgarden, or drinking Diet Coke. She lives in Maryland with her family, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

• • • • • • • • • • 


When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, she doesn’t realize paranormal forces are responsible—not until mysterious identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into her room and destroy a deadly spirit sent to kill her.

Kennedy learns that her mother’s death was no accident, and now Kennedy has to take her place in the Legion of the Black Dove—a secret society of ghost hunters formed to protect the world from a vengeful demon. A society whose five members were all murdered on the same night, leaving the Legion in the hands of the next generation: a misfit group with unique skills.

As the new members race to find the only weapon capable of destroying the demon, each uses their individual skills to battle paranormal entities and earn their rightful place in the Legion—except for Kennedy.

If she is truly the missing piece of the puzzle, can she stay alive long enough to find out—without losing her heart in the process?

The Legion Series:

• • • • • • • • • • 


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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Little Too Far Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

I'm really excited today to be a part of the promotional blog tour hosted by A Life Bound by Books for A Little Too Far, a contemporary new adult release from Lisa Desrochers. This book was the first NA book I picked up after an extended and much needed break from the genre as a whole, and it brilliantly reminded me why I was such a big fan of it before I had to take a step back for a while. You can read my full review below, and then don't forget to check out the bottom of the post for a tour wide giveaway hosted by Lisa herself!

A Little Too Far #1
Lisa Desrochers
Contemporary New Adult
336 pages
Available Now
Source: e-ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years … and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.

But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt … and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon … only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way.

A Little Too Far is a story we enter into with some trepidation, the premise causing us to wonder if this is going to be the type of new adult read that sprints up to the line separating drama from melodrama and takes a flying leap over to land with a flair on the other side, or if it's going to be the type that creates drama without the heavy dose of angst and the over the top emotional reactions. Luckily for us Lexie's journey to find love is the latter, giving us tension that causes a tightening in our chests rather than a roll of our eyes, and Ms. Desrochers does a beautiful job of writing a romance with three players that never once feels like a triangle. Instead were treated to the delightfully terrifying mess that is falling in love; all the tears and laughter, the restless nights and the comforting smiles, and the relief and pain detailed for us as they’re splashed across the page, leaving us sympathizing and aching for Lexie, Trent and Alessandro when they’re forced to ask themselves questions the answers to which scare them to their cores.

Lexie, despite a less-than impressive introduction wherein she considers caving to a cheating ex simply because he tells her the other girls didn't matter and then falls into bed quickly with her stepbrother, grows throughout the book into a young woman of strength who has a healthy dose of self-respect. She throws herself wholeheartedly into her time and studies in Rome, never once trying to drown out memories of Trent by partying or hooking up with other people, instead she finds a career path she hadn't considered before and milks everything from the experience she can. She doesn't handle every situation with Trent perfectly, a lack of communication between them the reason for the extent of their shared pain, but there's no drawn out series of misunderstandings or miscommunications to set our teeth on edge, rather there's simply the paralyzing fear that opening her mouth will irreparably damage something vital that keeps her from speaking her heart.

The situation is much the same with Alessandro, hindsight giving Lexie a clarity that has her wishing she'd dealt with certain things differently, but in the moment her reactions seem realistic and we can't help but admit our behavior would likely mirror hers were we in her shoes. The handling of both romances is expertly done, Ms. Desrochers creating such palpable pain between Lexie and Trent that it's impossible to forget him for even a moment despite the fact that Alessandro is far more present in the story, and the slow evolution of her friendship with Alessandro to something more manages–in the context of the story–to not necessarily feel like the betrayal of Trent we assume it will from the synopsis. There's no waffling on Lexie's part and no pitting the two of them against one another or forcing them to wait while she sorts herself out, there's just a fear so thick we can practically taste it and the understandable need to attempt to move past something that she thinks can never be hers.

Overall, A Little Too Far is an extremely steamy new adult read with a complex group of characters all searching for the people they both want to be and want to be with, and it's a pleasure to follow along as they stumble, fall, and then get up once again.

Rating: 4/5
Buy A Little Too Far:

• • • • • • • • • • 


Lisa Desrochers lives in central California with her husband and two very busy daughters. There is never a time that she can be found without a book in her hand, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise.

Look for her New Adult novel, A LITTLE TOO FAR , courtesy of HarperCollins Sept 2013, and the first companion, A LITTLE TOO MUCH , in Nov 2013. Also in stores is her YA PERSONAL DEMONS trilogy (Macmillan). 

• • • • • • • • • • 


Lisa is hosting a tour wide giveaway! Prizes include an iPod Mini, pendant, tote bags, temporary tattoos, and annotated chapters of A Little Too Far. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine

Trish Doller
Contemporary Young Adult
308 pages
Bloomsbury Childrens
Available September 24th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (From Goodreads)
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Where the Stars Still Shine is a story perfect for those who love seeing real life flash before their eyes as the chapters fly by; pain, joy, heartache, love and all the light and darkness that accompanies them bleeding from the pages, dripping and then coalescing into words that stay with us long after the covers are closed. Our time with Callie is brief in the grand scheme of her life as a whole, but that only makes each moment spent with her more precious, our connection to her increasing in intensity as she struggles with the sudden change in her definition of home.

Callie is a beautifully realistic young woman, utterly devoted to a mother who quite frankly is undeserving of her daughter’s unwavering support, and understandably wary about a father she doesn’t know making a play for a piece of her heart. She makes a few poor and sometimes incredibly frustrating choices, but they are choices borne of the life she’s been forced to live up until that point, and while we want to simply wrap our arms around her and tell her she’s worth more, we know the only way she’ll ever believe her life can be different is to figure it out for herself. With the poor choices however, she also makes some incredibly brave ones, valiantly fighting the battle raging between memories of the mother she’s loved unconditionally all her life and the less flattering reality freedom from her rose-tinted glasses shows her.

It’s a pleasure then to follow Callie as she slowly dares to believe that the love and affection showered on her by her new and boisterous Greek family is a constant; something she can keep and treasure and not be forced to set aside in favor of her mother’s whims. While her life doesn’t suddenly turn beautiful and perfect and full to bursting with magical solutions to all her problems, we’re left with the weighty promise of hope, something largely absent from her life when she and her mother were transient. Overall, Where the Stars Still Shine is quiet but engaging, painful but rich in laughter and love, and bittersweet but joyful all at the same time, expertly capturing a life and all its many facets and giving us a fleeting glimpse of them before we’re left to our own imaginations to figure out what's next for Callie.

Rating: 4/5

Find Trish:

This book was sent to me free of charge by the publisher for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fairy Tale Comics Blog Tour: Interview with Vanessa Davis

Today I'm extremely excited to wrap up my week of interviews with a very special Q+A with Vanessa Davis, one of the many fine cartoonists who contributed to Fairy Tale Comics, a stunning collection of stories and illustrations all in a variety of unique styles. As part of the promotional blog tour, Vanessa is here to answer a few questions about her contribution, "Puss in Boots", and how she reimagined her famous character. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Vanessa!

In Fairy Tale Comics, you delivered a retelling of "Puss in Boots". If you could choose one other fairy tale, myth, or legend to recreate in comic form, which one would you be most interested in drawing?

I'd be happy to draw most fairy tales, because they're so absurd and magical. I like The Donkey by the Brothers Grimm. It's about a prince who's a donkey but is actually a prince. I like that everyone gives him a chance. Also, I love donkeys.

How many versions of Puss did you go through before you landed on the red-booted, fluffy gray cat we see in the book?

I knew I wanted Puss to be as fluffy, puffy and cute as I could draw her. I did sketches to specifically get her little snout short and stubby but not too smooshy. I wanted her to be really fat and have a flat, wide head between her tufted ears. I wanted her to look kind of stupid, looks which belie her keen and shrewd cat-mind. I was a little sad to have to cover up her feet with boots, but luckily cats have four paws, so I still had the front ones. Paws add cuteness. I guess I really objectified Puss. But I think she's comfortable with these kinds of transactional relationships, so it's OK with her to have visual qualities to offer.

If you were to suddenly find yourself the proud owner of your version of Puss, what do you think would be the first thing she’d do when you brought her home?

Puss in Boots would have her work cut out for her in my household! I could definitely use someone looking out for me like she looked out for Lord Pistachio. Someone with that "killer instinct."

Let’s say you’re sitting on a throne in your castle and a cat waltzes up and delivers a bunny, a chicken and a goose. What are the first words out of your mouth when she does so?

"Hi, guys!!"

You fall victim to a fairy tale curse wherein you can only use a single color to bring your illustrations to life. What color do you choose?

That sounds like one of those extremely scary fairy tales. I guess I'd have to say black, but I would be sad about it.

Lord Pistachio is an incredibly sexy name ;-) If you were a princess in the "Puss in Boots" world, what would your name be?

I'd be happy to be Princess Pralines n' Cream!

If Puss were able to jump into any of the other stories in Fairy Tale Comics, in which one do you think she’d cause the most mischief or have the most fun?

If Puss hopped into the world of "The Boy Who Drew Cats", I think it would be a match made in heaven. The Boy would be so excited, and the Goblin Rat wouldn't stand a chance against her!

A few more samples of Vanessa's beautiful work:

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From favorites like "Puss in Boots" and "Goldilocks" to obscure gems like "The Boy Who Drew Cats," Fairy Tale Comics has something to offer every reader. Seventeen fairy tales are wonderfully adapted and illustrated in comics format by seventeen different cartoonists, including Raina Telgemeier, Brett Helquist, Cherise Harper, and more.

Edited by Nursery Rhyme Comics' Chris Duffy, this jacketed hardcover is a beautiful gift and an instant classic.

Fairy Tale Comics releases from First Second Books on September 24th

Friday, September 20, 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Katie McGarry + Crash Into You

It's an interview kind of week on the blog, and today I'm honored to have one of my very favorite authors stopping by to chat about her newest release. I've adored Katie McGarry since the first moment I met Noah and Echo in Pushing the Limits, and my love for her and her stories has only grown with each book she's written. I've been waiting patiently (sort of) for Isaiah's story since the first book, and Crash Into You is the best yet in my opinion, tugging away on my heartstrings with every page until it reduced me to a puddle of emotional goo. Awesome.

Given how much I loved this book, it's with no small amount of excitement that I welcome Katie McGarry back to the blog!

Your books are always written from the dual first-person perspectives of both the male and female protagonists, giving us a much-appreciated peek inside both of their heads. What's one book you've read that you wish had dual points of view so you could more closely examine another character's train of thought or their motivations?

I definitely would have loved to have been inside Edward’s head in the Twilight series. I’m definitely not the person to pull it off, but I think it would be great if someone did a retelling of Anne of Green Gables from Gilbert’s point of view.

Rachel is (understandably) a big fan of Isaiah's many and varied tattoos. If she were to get one for herself to represent the events of Crash Into You, what would it look like and how sexy would Isaiah find it?

I think Rachel would get a single flame. It’s something special to both her and Isaiah and I definitely believe that Isaiah would find it unbelievably sexy!

You clearly did a great deal of research on cars and racing for this book, what is one fun tidbit or piece of trivia you learned over the course of writing Rachel and Isaiah's story?

One day while I was researching Crash Into You, my car wouldn’t start. The good news: I was with guys who knew everything about cars. This one guy had me pop open the hood and he was trying a variety of things to figure out what was the problem. After a few minutes, he decided it was the battery.

He maneuvered his car around to jump the battery, but before he jumped it, he asked for a Coke. It was a hot day and I thought he was thirsty. When he was handed one, he opened it then poured it over my battery.

I was all freaking out and like, “What are you doing?”

“It’s acid,” he said. “Takes the grime off the battery which is keeping it from taking the spark.”

Me, “Oh.”

Guess what—it worked!

Let's say you are invited to conduct an exclusive interview with one character from any piece of young adult fiction. Who would sit atop your list and what's the first question you would ask them?

Definitely Ponyboy Curtis from The Outsiders. He’s one of my favorites!

Are you still close with your brothers and the guys you grew up with?

Just for fun: What are Isaiah and Rachel's thoughts on The Fast and the Furious films?

They absolutely love the first Fast and the Furious movie! In fact, they can watch the scene where Dom says, “Smoke him,” over and over again.

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Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of the full-length Young Adult novels PUSHING THE LIMITS and DARE YOU TO, and the e-novella CROSSING THE LINE. Her debut novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS, is a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and an RT Book Reviews 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. The most memorable moments for Katie are when she speaks to groups of teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach. Katie would love to hear from her readers.

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The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other

Releases November 26th from HarlequinTEEN

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Thanks to the amazing Katie McGarry, I have one ARC of Crash Into You to give away on the blog today. To enter, please just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Burning Sky Blog Tour: Character Interview with Iolanthe + Giveaway

Today I have the enormous pleasure of welcoming author Sherry Thomas and protagonist Iolanthe to the blog as part of the promotional tour for Sherry's new YA fantasy release, The Burning Sky. This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2013 and it didn't disappoint in the least, I loved everything about Iolanthe's story and am not at all ashamed to admit the wait for book two may give me a stress-induced ulcer I want it so badly. *stares longingly at calendar* On a more positive note though, Iolanthe is here on the blog to answer some questions about the changes her life undergoes in The Burning Sky (and maybe a few about Titus too). 

The amazing team at Rockstar Book Tours has planned a fabulous tour full of reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways, so be sure and check the bottom of the post for the full schedule and giveaway details!

You have to spend a great deal of time masquerading as a boy in order to stay by Titus’s side in the human world. What is the single hardest part of fitting in at an all-boys school?

That there are only boys’ bathrooms. Granted, there are stalls with doors that close, but who wants to deal with the sight of a dozen boys standing before a big trough to get to those stalls?! That is something I have to be very careful about. Also—and this is not mentioned in the book—but I have a couple of other places around town where I can both have some privacy and not have my eyeballs assaulted on the way to that privacy.  :)

Titus is a very different person when he’s in front of people as Prince Titus (as he has to be) than he is when it’s just the two of you. If you had to assign an animal (magical or otherwise) to represent his public face and one to represent his private one, which animals do you think best embody his two personalities?

The best equivalent might be the wolf. He can seem very snarly and standoff-ish at times, but in truth he can be both playful and affectionate.

Let’s say that instead of attending school in London, you and Titus are both enrolled in a school in Domain. What class do you think you would excel at? Which one would cause you to struggle?

I have never been that good at archival magic—magic that is no longer practiced but which are taught as part of the curriculum. (And unfortunately, the higher you go in school, the more archival magic you have to study.)

I am, however, a pretty decent potionmaker—so confident that I volunteered to make silver light elixir for a wedding. (You might read about a clarifying potion that I have trouble concocting, but unbeknownst to me, one of the key ingredients has lost all potency—the reason my efforts kept failing.)

There are some spectacular magical creatures in the Realm. If one of them were to cross over into the human world, which do you think would fascinate or terrify us the most?

The colossal cocatrice would do the trick nicely. It is not called colossal for no reason—the beast is taller than castle walls! Not to mention, the fire produced by a coupled pair of colossal cocatrice is one of the hottest substances known to magekind. That ought to send nonmages scurrying. 

If you could return to the moment right before things went awry with the elixir and give that Iolanthe a short message, what would it be?

Don’t panic.  :)

What’s one small thing about Titus you know that the rest of the Realm doesn’t?

He is an excellent tailor. 

My uniforms must fit me, you see, but before I came along, Titus had no idea what kind of height or girth he would be dealking with. So he learned a slew of tailoring spells. That way, he could alter the uniforms he had already prepared so they would look as if they had been made to measure.

If we were to ask Titus what he thought made you such a great partner in your fight against the Bane, what do you think he would say? Would you agree with him?

He would say my courage. And I would have to disagree. I am not courageous at all. If there is a dangerous mission, I’d rather someone else undertook it. However, I do hate to fail. If I have committed to a perilous task, then I will see it through come hell or high water. 

(The tough part, as you might guess, is getting me to agree to such tasks.)

• • • • • • • • • • 

THE BURNING SKY (Elemental Trilogy #1)
Available now from Balzer + Bray

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he’s also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.


• • • • • • • • • • •


Author photo by the lovely and talented Jennifer Sparks Harriman at Sparks Studio.

Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

English is Sherry’s second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger’s Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.

Sherry’s next book, THE BURNING SKY, volume one of her young adult fantasy trilogy, will be available fall 2013.


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For First Place:

1 Hardcover of THE BURNING SKY a tote bag, and handmade balm, scrub, and bath tea.

Runners Up:

 3 Hardcovers of THE BURNING SKY and a tote bag.

3 runners up will get swag packs (stickers, bookmarks, signed bookplates)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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9/16/2013- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post 
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